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stuntdog

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PostSubject: Rise   Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:27 am

New series from creator of Friday Nite Lights & Parenthood Jason Katims. Based off the book about real life teacher Lou Volpe.

Watched the 1st two episodes. Anyone else watching this?
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PostSubject: Re: Rise   Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:58 am

I watched the first episode and found the premise so irritating - middle aged man who is doing a crappy job teaching decides he needs to have more meaning in his life (hey, how about becoming a better teacher?), so tells the principal he wants to run the drama program. Doesn't matter that he has no theater experience, it's what he WANTS and NEEDS to do. So, let's get rid of the Latina woman because she is "irritating" and give the guy the job. Really?? In 2018 that's our storyline?? I understand it is based on a true story (somewhat), but there are a lot of ways that could have been presented that didn't smack so much of white male privilege.

Sorry for the rant - don't know why this bothered me so much, but it just seems so tone deaf.
And then things like, why can't the football player be in musical? Because those are both time-consuming activities and no high school has kids doing both musicals and varsity sports. There's only so much time in the afternoon...

Geez, aren't you glad you asked? All that being said, I do have it recorded, and I may go ahead and watch the second episode and get sucked in. smile

But, stuntdog, what did you think? Did you enjoy it? Are you a theater person? Glee fan?
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PostSubject: Re: Rise   Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:49 pm

ah thank you for this review... I don't have to watch it yay
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davidalan

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PostSubject: Re: Rise   Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:52 pm

I watched the first two episodes. I like the kids more than the adults and wonder as with glee if the actual stage production wouldn't be better as a young actors' rep company or at least community theater. So far most of the kids in Rise are truer to me than the more adult looking kids in Glee but Glee was also pretty much a comedy whereas Rise so far is not. The adults in Rise are often not very interesting and sometimes are impeding the story.

I like the one kid Simon who is obviously gay but doesn't want to admit it but the other guy who will share a romantic moment in Spring Awakening sure does want him to admit it. I wish Simon's parents were less wooden because they stumble into conservative catholic caricatures more than as real people. I mean they are being presented as absolute idiots and automatically intolerant because y'all that kid is gay. That family storyline should be way tighter. I mean even conservative parents have moments of vulnerability and humanity.

As for Robbie the football theater kid, my nephew did a lot of stuff concurrently when in school and while it wasn't easy it was mostly manageable. However my impression of what a school system should be is that it should work out a way where Robbie can do both without all the hassle. Last I heard school was for kids and not for coaches or principals or even would-be theater directors. I liked the one football scene with his friend (Randall?) where the friend says there are scouts looking at me if you're not good I'm not good, and at least there was some honest fluent spontaneous interaction in terms of acting and theme. Where this show sometimes steps wrong is in all the points it has to make which makes the dialog feel more scripted than spoken.

The characters of the girls trouble me in that they're trapped in certain preconceived stereotypes as in bitchy or clingy or in love or helping. I appreciate them most when they're performing (minus the diva tirades of course). I did like the scene where Gwen responded to the director's words as to why this part and not that part was where she could shine and then she sang afterwards in a way that once more made me with that this all took place outside of a high school. The stuff with Gwen's family and Lillette's family just doesn't interest me as much. Both daughters should just tell their families to get the hell of the way.

Maashous, the homeless lighting behind the scenes personality, is intriguing in that he sees things that other don't. In a rep co. (or even in the school?) he'd be groomed as a future director. Right now there's this artificial story where since he's homeless he has to live at the director's house. I don't care if that all goes well or not both interpersonally and legally, because Maashous is now the most interesting person in that household and that should concern the story writers a lot.

What I wonder now is how many kids will have to move out of their difficult family houses and into the director's basement or some other houses willing to foster them because most of these kids are old enough to legitimately tell their parents no. I mean look at Simon and his parents. Really? An academy? Why don't you just send him to a gay conversion clinic? Or is this a semi-hidden euphemism?

I like the show. Otherwise I would comment this much. But it has some bugs to work out. Getting rid of most of the adults would certainly help.
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PostSubject: Re: Rise   Fri Mar 23, 2018 6:09 am

I mostly agree with BA here. Mostly just wanna add: BARB sighting! tv
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davidalan

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PostSubject: Re: Rise   Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:15 pm

Again most of the strictly adult interactions annoyed me: it's just now their show. I did like Lou's wife more. She's warmed up to her lodger which was nice. And I liked the end scene with the whole family including the wayward son playing family football together.

Two more good scenes involved Simon. One where he was singing and was moved by his own emotions at the end similar to Gwen last week. The other where when Lou offered to removed difficult material from Spring Awakening (isn't that the whole play?) Simon insisted no and that's he counting on the director to keep the play in tact.

Another nice scene involved Robbie with his ailing mother. That was very quiet and well done.

I wish though the show almost entirely stuck to the production and then some related elements of the play itself acted out in the kids' real lives. Seriously I don't care which adult has an affair with which other adult or whether parents have objections to the play and their son's acting in it and then one parent reconsiders through handy responses by the director to grilling questions. More relevant was actually the fund raising cookie baking 'cause how else is this play being funded? Also I did like the prop discussion by the assistant director as a stroll through history, but I just don't like it when she and the director argue because unless it's over casting and blocking it's so unnecessary.

Maashous did get a promotion. He's on his way to becoming a director.

I wish the guy who has a crush on Simon had a story line that goes beyond staring and smiling and other limited responding.
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davidalan

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PostSubject: Re: Rise   Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:20 pm

The best episode by far. Even the adults were interesting. Maybe because their scenes were more genuine. Now if only they had an episode that just focused on rehearsing for Spring Awakening.
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PostSubject: Re: Rise   Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:34 am

I guess this week's episode was trying to make points but parts just didn't ring true. I liked the singing at the end and the lead's mother showing up at rehearsal maybe to see her daughter for the first time as a separate person. I liked the coach's daughter and her scenes with the coach himself and the director's alcoholic son. He's also good btw. Quieter. Coming to some difficult conclusions in his own life.

Meanwhile I was annoyed with the set up for the male lead's quit the play or you don't qb. If the problem is he's not concentrating on his qb lines well enough, then yes bench him. But these adults annoy me when they pull him in two directions when last I heard the pre-college education system was meant for the growth of kids, not the punishment of them. These three people should have a conversation about what this kid wants, and if it's not realistic then point that out. And if the kid's worried about getting into a good football school, then how realistic that is should be examined too. My problem is that the show itself doesn't explore his motivations for being this play well enough to put both football and theater evenly. If the show stayed with the kids more, then this problem in perspective wouldn't be so obvious.

Meanwhile, the struggle of the gay kid accepting his own identity is annoying me. The storyline is becoming too pedestrian, too much into the drama of whether he'll go with the guy who likes him but who hardly has enough of a character presence to have any traction as a romantic interest. Meanwhile, the gay kid while struggling pursues a girl who clearly has a crush on him. This happens in real life, but I don't think this girl is all that imperceptive, and in real life would be wondering what this was all about. The gay kid's best friend tries to deter him from moving forward, and I wish she just would have said what she was thinking. That would have been the drama I'd want to see.

Then there was all this predicament about building the set, and then tearing down that idea because of expense, and then the town more or less coming together to bring in elements of the town as the set. This was all so clunky in its execution. I wish the whole thing could have been the homeless kid's (now assistant) task to figure out without all the director's miraculous revelation. Meanwhile the director keeps missing his family commitments, which doesn't interest me much, except that his wife is shining more in her smaller scenes and there was a very nice scene towards the end where the alcoholic son goes to her for the help he needs, and maybe that's her role right now: going to where she herself is needed. The director doesn't need her right now. She's merely home address applause.

I still wish the show was about the production. All this other stuff, whether presented well or not, is ultimately distracting. Maybe a structure focusing more on one kid character per episode would have been better. Instead, we get far too many stories elbowing one another for space.
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davidalan

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PostSubject: Re: Rise   Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:46 am

Not a good episode. Tech week! And of course everything goes wrong, but the episode itself needed rewrites because most of the scenes seemed flawed. The only dramatic exchange that rang true was between the director's wife and the family lodger who panicked after breaking the dryer but is deep down panicking after his foster family needed him back to go to a meeting (so that they can keep receiving money I believe---otherwise they don't care) with the social worker who announces to the kid that his mother is being released from prison(?) and is working towards welcoming him back home but far away from the home and school that are actually better for him. So he's crumbling internally and is also sideways self-sabotaging. The director's wife was both kind to him and stood her ground in terms of interpersonal responsibility (as in not lying, and not running away after misinterpreting anger). All the other scenes in the show just wilted in comparison to this one. All of them.
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PostSubject: Re: Rise   Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:57 pm

While I'll agree last weeks was better (possible best of series). This one had it's moments.
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davidalan

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PostSubject: Re: Rise   Thu May 03, 2018 2:18 am

Not a bad episode. The best moments were with Gwen and Gordy because the actors know how to communicate emotional pain. Masshous asking help from the director and his wife and then them waiting in the car while in the diner Masshous meets his mother who just got out of prison. He's so skittish and tentative but quietly giving. I don't know anything about her so I can't say what she's like. Meanwhile the confrontation between Simon's mother and father worked I guess but the revelation was hardly a shock in 2018. Simon's reaction while overhearing the argument was good though, plus his comforting his sister who perhaps didn't understand the context. But here's a family moment that had a direct relationship to someone in the play and him being in the play, so that's fine. But Gwen telling her adulterous father to stay out of her life was way better. The actress is quite good in this role.

But...

The whole football experience was an easy setup to a convenient solution. There was the conversation I wanted between Robbie and the Coach and the Drama teacher, but it seemed like Robbie still had to beg for an invitation to be part of his own high school experience while the two adult men remained so ridiculously obsessed. They both annoy me. The leaked footage of rehearsals also annoyed me. It was a plot contrivance to sell tickets and make the play equally relevant to football when last I heard this was a show about a play, so let's see more of that please. Meanwhile, the principal is totally boring and the pta petition pushed by Simon's father is distracting. What I'd like to see is more of the parents of the kids of the play stating why they're supporting these kids in this production. But what I still frankly want to see is the kids as the genuine centerpiece of this show and most of the adults taking more of a collective backseat.
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PostSubject: Re: Rise   Wed May 09, 2018 12:11 pm

Finally one more great episode. Why? Because it was mostly kid-centric.

When there were adult only moments, they were much tighter than in previous episodes because the kids were mostly given enough time to shine in their own right.

In terms of the play itself, I don't know if there was intentional or unintentional irony, but the pta and the milquetoast principal insisted on all these language and theme changes in the play. And the episode was centered on the production trying to incorporate these changes. What's ironic is that the real play itself could never be shown on this show on this network at this time because it's so loaded with profanity. The themes themselves, while perhaps challenging, are hardly 2018 taboo---although a scene with a girl wanting a boy to beat her with a stick because she can't feeling anything is stepping pretty close to something oh complicated. The way the conflict is arising in terms of the production either one or more of the kids will say screw this and use the original script, some emergency will disrupt the production and create dramatic diversion, or the whole show will move to some private non-school place where the production can be what it wants to be without immediate interference. But what I'd like to see is this cast actually performing this play because these kids are actually interesting, but that may be a moment for some futuristic ancillary presentation called the internet.

Meanwhile, since it's actually kids who are having problems outside of the play, the problems themselves make sense as tie ins. For instance, Lilette has a runaway mother and rent is due and she herself doesn't want to accept money from her boyfriend Robbie or any guy because she just got a crucial pep talk from the costume volunteer woman whose husband has been having an affair with the lead girl's deeply immature mother. Convoluted? Yes. But this episode did well at cutting right to this moment of a sane adult woman telling the other woman's daughter that this is not the daughter's fault, and that the daughter has a soul in her that's ready to shine. I loved this scene.

Also, Simon and his sister (who has downs) overheard their parents, in the previous episode, arguing about the father forging the mother's signature to a petition to stop the show and the mother having none of that, of course, but also taking complaints to the level of there being no more intimacy between them because, of course, the father has been gay all this time but has chosen not to act on it and instead to be the head of a proper conservative family. Well, that works for your kids maybe but not your wife. Anyway, the sister can't deduce the nuances but Simon sure can, and later he confronts his father about all this and his father says there are compromises that people have to make. Sure that's true, but one of the compromises is not unloading all your own bullshit on your gay son. It's the parallel of a football dad. But none of this is anywhere near as great as when Simon just starts screaming at the director for making all of these changes now when from day one the play has torn his own family apart. This was such a great moment. He walks off stage. Later he says he's fine and he'll do what is asked of him in terms of the play, but tells the guy who's clearly in love with him that there's some feeling inside of him that's ready to explode and be all out there. Coming out is the logical deduction, according the other guy's facial expression, and it could be that. But right now Simon's more about the integrity of the production. What I predict is that gay kiss that the play requires, and which was probably one of the plot points that was amended, will just happen anyway, out of rebellion, and mostly out of tribute to the play. Simon's verbal coming out will be later, I believe. I mean the one with words. But the kiss, I predict, will be a billboard before the whisper. As for the other guy, he won't mind.

As for Robbie, we finally get a better sense of his motivation to perform in this play: his mother and her appreciation of him as a musical kid. Robbie is in his mother's hospital room. She has ALS. And it's clear not just from her struggling but from an interesting conversation where her doctor talks to Robbie, very tenderly, about eventual hospice care. But in the hospital room, Robbie later insists that his mother come to the show, because that may be the only time she will ever see him sing and act. Then Robbie's mother asks him to sing. He sings Amazing Grace. It's heartbreaking. Later he shows up at his Lilette's apartment, all in terms. He says you may not want to need me, but I need you. And they have a nice scene after that.

Finally, Gwen and Gordon. They have a quiet scene in a far row of the theater. Gordon's suddenly there. And Gwen thinks it's because he's stalking her. Well, he sort of is. Because Gordon needed a community service job and he chose the production. He's helping Masshous and doing props and cleanup. Gwen confronts him, and Gordon says: I'm here because of rehab. She asks for what? Drinking, he says. There was a lot of drinking in their earlier sexual encounter, so she apologizes. It was a nice quiet scene. It's wonderful that the two of them, for once, don't have to carry the show.

You know an episode's good also when equally reliable Masshous and his story don't also have to carry the weight of the show. He has a tough but a regular sort of moment that draws his foster family together, even Gordon who kind of likes him now, to support him. He's off to live with his mother who's just gotten out of prison. I'm sure he'll be back.

The Director and Rosie Perez had a couple of arguments which were only interesting when the kids were eavesdropping. Otherwise, pretty much nothing.

Let's see if the show can continue some solid momentum. Two great episodes in a row? Well, one can dream.
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davidalan

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PostSubject: Re: Rise   Wed May 16, 2018 10:35 am

OMG this episode, this finale, needed an entire rewrite.

Again, we are subjected to stupid adults with their combination of cardboard types and hyperdramatic acting interrupting the rhythm of the kids and their performances and their lives. After a season of adults/parents like these, you wonder how these kids ever survived.

The show itself, despite the attempt of a shut down interruption by the worst actor of a villain principal ever, had some moments of flow, but what I wanted of course was the production. The thread of emotion that would have built. So I would have had the whole thing shut down even before the episode began because tptb can take no chances, and have the production move to some place out of the hands of hypocritical and dramatically useless adults, and have the show just be the production, with side conversations that like a greek chorus would reflect the themes or even just the same-age angst of the on stage play. There was one such moment off stage between Gwen and Gordy, who have become my heroes, as they talk about real things as though they have real thinking and capable minds. There was also a nice moment of Masshous thanking the director's wife for taking him in. That was in the lobby before the production, and that was fine. But all the thumping by the horrible adults, and all the dippiness of the adults who won't ever seem to grow up---it was all excruciating.

Anyway, Rise has apparently been cancelled, and while I can see why, it's a shame, because with the right vision this could have been something really good. Truthfully what it needed was to be on a streaming network, or as a webseries, because network tv with all its constraints was the wrong place for it in the first place.

Here's what I want. All these kids to realize how good they were and to ditch all of these adults and form their own rep group but perhaps put it on the web as well as in front of a live audience. If anyone can succeed in both venues, it's kids who grew up with technology and now have it in their blood. But please leave most of the adults behind to wallow in their own misery. Including, I'm sad to say, the two directors. Give the job to Maashous. He acts his character. They just talk theirs.
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PostSubject: Re: Rise   Thu May 17, 2018 9:14 am

@davidalan wrote:

Anyway, Rise has apparently been cancelled, and while I can see why, it's a shame, because with the right vision this could have been something really good. Truthfully what it needed was to be on a streaming network, or as a webseries, because network tv with all its constraints was the wrong place for it in the first place.
While I think you might've been overly critical at times, I mostly agree with this. It had the cast and most of the right components. However, it needed better a direction overall. I know you (and others) would've preferred more emphasis on the play(s) production and the kid's lives. Myself, I didn't really have a problem with some focus being on the adults. Maybe cause I've seen more of the creators other works. So I knew that that's how it was going to be. However, I'll agree they could've written some of those story lines better. Maybe since I'm not much of a musical fan, nor did I watch Glee, I really didn't want to focus too much on any of the play(s) production! fnger
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PostSubject: Re: Rise   Thu May 17, 2018 10:41 am

Well, Glee was mostly a comedy that stumbled into serious stuff occasionally. I didn't watch anything after the first season, because in the end I could never buy the cast as high school students.

I was "overly critical" because the show was often insanely frustrating. And weak on adult characterization. Most of them didn't act very well. Most of them weren't particularly interesting. The only ones I had any sustained positive feelings for were the director's wife and Gwen's mother---and maybe Robbie's mother when the show opted to tear itself away from so-called adults engaging in adolescent adultery and now clich├ęd closeted homosexuals acting as puppets for the religious right. And Lou himself, the director, he had some moments maybe, but ultimately I didn't like him because his struggle sometimes seemed like playacting and without any credible risk. I mean yes he could have gotten fired, but then where's the tv show? Maybe he could have gone into community theater, which would have been way better for the show anyway.

The kids were the stars and solidity of this show and the musical itself Spring Awakening was the right choice for them based on who they were and the problems they were going through. The show itself and its bouncing all over the place tried hard to supplant the kids' more interesting stories. The adults were never as good as the kids. The show was at its best when the kids were center stage. I would want to know what they'd be doing in the coming years. The adults? Forget 'em, they're too dull.



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